Giant estate stood in Liverpool city centre for just 50 years but will never be forgotten
Gerard Gardens was a landmark in Liverpool
Liverpool city centre is constantly re-inventing itself and one of the landmarks that has been lost over the years is Gerard Gardens.
Even though it only stood for 50 years and wasn't flattened until quite recently in the late 1980s, it's one of those places that has a legendary, almost mythic status in the city's history.
People who lived or grew up there still have fond memories of the sprawling estate, and are fiercely proud of their roots.
No-one who saw it could forget its vast scale or imposing appearance. Yet, despite that, it had a strong sense of community and identity which sometimes eludes more modern developments.
One former resident remembered: "It was like our sanctuary and we never had to venture outside those four walls.
"It was just a lovely neighbourhood."
For a traditionally left-wing city such as Liverpool, it's appropriate that the inspiration for the design of Gerard Gardens was the Karl Marx Hof development in Vienna.
This was visited by a delegation from Liverpool Corporation looking for ideas for social housing, and they even copied such ideas as statues over the arch.
Designed and built in the 1930s by architect Sir Lancelot Keay, it faced what is now the main building of Liverpool John Moores University.
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While Gerard Gardens would have been considered state-of-the-art when it opened, this kind of housing quickly fell out of favour.
With its monolithic brutalist design, central playground area, and washing hanging on balconies, it seemed like a throwback to a different era long before the demolition teams moved in.
But the memories remain strong.
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